UK consumer spending rises but still lags behind inflation

UK shopper spending elevated final month however lagged far behind inflation, based on knowledge printed on Tuesday, as households continued to chop again on purchases within the face of excessive power payments and different value pressures.

Figures from Barclays, which characterize virtually half of credit score and debit card transactions nationwide, confirmed that card spending rose 4 per cent yr on yr in March.

In keeping with the financial institution’s shopper spending index, gross sales of family and DIY items elevated, as folks started to renovate their properties forward of summer season. The newest season premieres of widespread tv reveals additionally fuelled an increase in subscription purchases.

However the 4 per cent enhance continued to be outpaced by stubbornly excessive shopper worth inflation, which unexpectedly rose at an annual fee of 10.4 per cent in February, suggesting cuts to real-terms spending by squeezed households.

“The below-inflation rise in grocery spending reveals that Brits are nonetheless making an attempt their hardest to shave cash off their weekly store, as power payments proceed to rise”, stated Esme Harwood, director at Barclays.

Within the spring Price range, chancellor Jeremy Hunt stated the federal government would prolong its power worth assure for households by three months to June. The cap — which took impact after the surge in wholesale fuel and electrical energy costs sparked by the Ukraine struggle — has restricted common annual power payments to £2,500 this winter.

However, 88 per cent of individuals surveyed by Barclays stated they have been involved concerning the affect of power payments on their funds. As chilly climate in March prompted folks to maintain the heating on, excessive payments left them with much less to spend on non-essentials.

Of all survey respondents, virtually two-thirds stated they have been shopping for fewer garments. In the meantime, 62 per cent of respondents stated they’d minimize down on consuming out to save cash, with eating places reporting a 5.6 per cent year-on-year drop in buyer spending.

Silvia Ardagna, head of European economics analysis at Barclays, stated that “with meals and beverage costs up notably in February, and driving the sharp acceleration in costs set by eating places and resorts . . . it isn’t stunning that customers are moderating spending”.

In keeping with knowledge printed final month by the Workplace for Nationwide Statistics, costs of meals and non-alcoholic drinks rose 18.2 per cent, the best tempo in additional than 45 years, as hovering power prices and unhealthy climate throughout elements of Europe led to shortages and rationing.

Separate figures launched on Tuesday by the British Retail Consortium, a commerce physique, confirmed the worth of complete gross sales for its members — principally huge supermarkets and chains — rose 5.1 per cent yr on yr in March.

“As customers in the reduction of on consuming out, spending on dwelling comforts, equipment and furnishings noticed the most important progress, with folks trying to entertain at dwelling as an alternative,” stated Paul Martin, UK head of retail at KPMG, an advisory agency.

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